Professor Sent to Police Custody in Obscene Letter Case
A local court sent a professor of the Gujarat University to a one-day police custody here today, in connection with a sexual harassment case, for allegedly writing obscene letters to three of his women colleagues.
 
Sarman Zala (56), who heads the political science department of the Gujarat University, was arrested yesterday for sexually harassing three women colleagues after he allegedly wrote obscene letters to them.
 
Metropolitan Magistrate B L Choithani remanded Zala to a one-day police custody after hearing the probe agency's application which sought three days' of police remand.
 
The Gujarat state police had contended before the court that it would need three days' remand of the accused to find out if he wrote obscene letters to women professors and under what circumstances he wrote such letters.
 
The probe agency said in its remand application, that it would need the accused professor's handwriting samples to match with the handwriting on obscene letters which were allegedly written by him.
 
Opposing the remand application, Defence Counsel Amit Nair told the court that no grounds have been put forward to substantiate the claim that the letters were written by Zala.
 
Nair argued that the alleged obscene letters are in the custody of the investigating agency and so there is no need to interrogate his client.
 
He told the court that whenever the police needed the accused in this case, he could be produced to co-operate in the investigation.
 
After hearing both sides, the metropolitan court sent Zala to police custody until 11 am tomorrow when a further hearing of the case is scheduled.
 
The sessions court had rejected Zala's anticipatory bail after which he had surrendered at the Mithakhali-based women police station here yesterday. 
 
According to the police complaint, Zala has been charged under Section 354-A (sexual harassment), Section 509 (insulting the modesty of women and Section 506 (criminal intimidation), which is applicable to his wife as well as an unidentified person.
 
The issue came to light when three women professors filed a police complaint on July 30 about anonymous letters in vulgar language being sent to them at their respective offices in the Social Science building.
 
These professors claimed that the letters, addressed to each of them and written in English, were either found in empty rooms or kept on their tables during April and May.
 
After finding out that Zala is behind writing such obscene letters, the three women professors finally lodged an FIR against him and his wife, as well as an unidentified person on August 3.
 
Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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